With increasing global competition and the need to effectively market a company’s brand, image, and products, there has been a surge in the implementation of enterprise marketing automation solutions. Marketing automation refers to a marketing solution that assists in automating and personalizing communication. Emails, landing pages, and social media posts are just a few ways marketing automation customizes your digital brand. These tools provide companies with the best methods for defining personas, attracting clients and customers, capturing important information from leads, and mapping unique flows through the customer journey. Today, many B2B marketers look to marketing automation tools, like HubSpot and Salesforce’s Pardot, to manage and improve communication and drive marketing success.
HubSpot began operations in 2006— focusing on inbound marketing and sales. Since then, the company’s products and services have provided tools for social media marketing, content management, web analytics and search engine optimization. HubSpot has integration features with Microsoft Dynamics, NetSuite, Salesforce and dozens of other digital platforms and tools. HubSpot prides itself on being the “all-in-one” marketing solution that attracts more visitors, converts more leads, closes more deals, and delights more customers. HubSpot offers marketing automation, content management systems (CMS) and customer relationship management (CRM) software.
HubSpot is ideally suitable for small to mid-sized B2B companies. HubSpot offers a seamless approach to learning online marketing because they provide a complete solution with ready-made features and templates. This is a tremendous challenge today as there is a range of interests, audiences and touchpoints. HubSpot’s free marketing automation platform includes lead analytics, forms, contact activity and social lead insights. However, prices vary with packages as low as $50.00/month ranging to more robust options around $2,400/month. Each option necessitates a 12-month contract. As more modifications and enhancements grow with marketing needs, the cost of the platform rises.
Pardot is another leader in the B2B marketing automation tools industry. Pardot has an interesting history; it was founded in 2007 as a marketing automation software solution squarely pegged for small and midsize businesses. Through its growth and impressive attraction to thousands of clients, it was acquired by ExactTarget in 2012 and merged with their Interactive Marketing Hub. Salesforce acquired ExactTarget in 2013, which is how Pardot became part of the Salesforce marketing family.
Pardot’s B2B marketing automation by Salesforce helps marketers create leads, generate pipeline, and empower sales to close deals. Salesforce has become the leader in CRM solutions and because of its seamless integration with Pardot, the two together are a popular choice among small to medium-sized businesses. But, a great product comes at a price. Pardot’s subscription begins at $960/month for 10,000 contacts and can be range up to $6,000/month.
A key factor of success at the center of every marketing initiative is lead generation. Companies capture interest through email campaigns and social media strategies to generate leads and grow a contact database. HubSpot and Pardot both provide lead generation opportunities with lead scoring and segmentation features specifically for B2B companies.
HubSpot’s lead generation strategy focuses solely on the inbound marketing methodology. Through the integration of tools such as email, forms, smart content, and blogging, HubSpot provides relevant content to each website visitor. Leads are generated and then scored based on the professional information the prospect has given the company, and how they've engaged with their website and brand across the internet. This helps sales and marketing teams prioritize leads and increase efficiency by understanding which lead is hot, warm or cold towards their products or services. This type of lead generation is a holistic approach to standard marketing methods.
Pardot has lead generation tools as well, though their approach is more traditional. Utilizing landing pages and smart forms, Pardot allows marketers to create informative and attractive spaces where prospects can learn about the product. The inbound marketing platform also includes a lead scoring system which allows businesses to better understand who is interested in your company, product or service. Less emphasis is placed on content.
HubSpot’s platform focuses more on list segmentation for organization, while Pardot focuses more on automation rules. Both platforms will give their users the ability to understand engagement and targeting.
Both platforms have reporting and analytics tools that can help with marketing challenges. Measuring ROI is one of the top challenges marketers face as they try to discern which marketing tool or campaign generated the most revenue. Pardot and HubSpot both have features that overcome these challenges.
In the evaluation of analytical tools, HubSpot has a slight edge. HubSpot provides analytics with built-in reports that cover campaigns, page analytics, landing pages, information about competitors, and contact lists. HubSpot also allows custom-report building by utilizing personalized variables to merge data. This allows marketers to look for common trends and patterns to better define success.
With similar features, Pardot seems to fixate its attention more on measuring ROI, which is an important metric for all marketers. Additionally, Pardot’s email analytics provide businesses with the ability to see the customers lifestyle through a pipeline. This data is available through setting up a customizable dashboard which allows a marketer to choose what data to track.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Another buzzword in the marketing world centers around Customer Relationship Management (CRM). CRMs are tools used to manage the relationships a company has with its customers and potential customers. Almost every company has some type of “sales pipeline” where potential customers move throughout the buying process. Both Pardot and HubSpot have CRM products.
A highlight Pardot offers is direct integration with Salesforce. This simple integration allows for information to be seamlessly added from one platform to another. This platform addition can become costly though.
On the other hand, HubSpot offers a free CRM platform, as well as paid monthly versions. Their platform includes free resources that are simple to understand. HubSpot also integrates with Salesforce with no difficult technical setup, although many B2B companies prefer working directly in the Salesforce platform with Pardot. Your company’s sales team’s needs should dictate which marketing automation CRM integration you select.
Social Media Management
Social media continues to be a growth opportunity for marketers to “tweet,” “post,” or “snap” about their company. The challenge for B2B marketers continues to be which posts will be seen and drive interest to potential customers. Both HubSpot and Pardot have social publishing and listening tools that are imperative for a company’s success in owning the conversation on social media.
HubSpot reshapes how to monitor social interactions and provides top insight of the profile of prospects all within the tool. This knowledge is taken straight to the sales team about the engagement of each post to further interpret how to drive potential. HubSpot’s social tool makes promoting content, increasing traffic and reaping the SEO benefits simple.
Pardot has similar paths that also directly post content to each of your social media platforms. Once posted and integrated into the CRM, Pardot will show social activity under your prospect’s marketing activity. This will lead into scoring models to determine which best steps to take next in engaging your prospects.
How to Determine Which is Best for Your Business
Both HubSpot and Pardot provide benefits to B2B organizations—each tool allows marketers to understand their audience in a new way. If your company already uses Salesforce, you may want to consider Pardot. But, if your company is ready for a digital marketing transformation, consider the “all-in-one” marketing automation tool, HubSpot. Marketing automation tools have tremendously impacted companies throughout the last decade, and they’re only going to become more of an asset as our culture becomes more entrenched in technology.